Vehicle Every Day Carry Items (VEDC)

This is a guest post by JJ Johnson (JJSERE1). JJ is a former USAF Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Instructor and currently runs his own survival blog which can be seen here: http://www.realitysurvival.com.  He also has a YouTube Channel with several survival/self-reliance related videos which can be found here: http://www.YouTube.Com/user/RealitySurvival

Most people in America spend the majority of their time split between three places:  their home, their place of work and in their vehicle.  Numerous excellent articles have been written on what emergency gear and supplies to keep in your home and to a lesser extent at your workplace.  A lot of good material has also been written on Bug Out Bags (BOB) and Every Day Carry (EDC) items as well.  This post will focus on items related to vehicles and what items to keep in them with two primary areas of concern.  First, Vehicle Every Day Carry (VEDC) items. Second, items for your Get Home Bag (GHB).

Most of us rely on our vehicles on a daily basis and would probably also need to rely on them in an emergency situation.  In any emergency or survival situation that does not involve the destruction or mandatory evacuation of your home, your first priority should probably be to get home.  Of course that is assuming you don’t need immediate medical attention.  Home isn’t only where you hang your hat, it’s also where all your stuff is.  Stuff or resources are the key to making it through tough times happy and healthy. So, with that in mind all of the items on this list are geared towards getting you home.

Here is a list (and some of their possible uses, if its not self explanatory) of all of the items I recommend keeping in a vehicle all the time. In no particular order of importance.

  • Jumper cables
  • Two tow straps – Vehicle extraction.
  • Small bag of easy light charcoal – fire starter / signal fire.
  • 5 road flares – Emergency distress signal, fire starter.
  • Come along – Vehicle extraction.
  • Bobby Stick / Club – Self Defense, fire starter.
  • First aid kit – Medical, Fire starter.
  • 12 Volt Air Compressor – Refill a flat tire, Light, Signal.
  • Extra fuses – Vehicle repair.
  • Siphon pump – To transfer gasoline from one vehicle or gas can to your vehicle.
  • Hat
  • 2 – 40 ft sections of old climbing rope – Vehicle extraction, emergency repelling to assist another, etc.
  • 2 – carabineers, a figure eight and enough rope for an emergency swiss seat.  
  • Extra batteries – For GPS, Spotlight, etc.
  • Bottle of Excedrin – Medical, Energy boost.
  • Binoculars – For locating nearest civilization (if you travel in rural areas).
  • Gloves – Personal protection.
  • Extra 550 – Multi Use, Fire, Shelter, Improvising, etc.
  • Seat Belt Extractor /Cutter – To cut jammed or locked seat belts after an accident.
  • Cell phone charger
  • 120 Volt to 12 Volt Inverter – For powering a laptop or other potential communication device.
  • LED Spotlight – Distress signal, warn oncoming traffic of your presence at night, work light for vehicle repair.
  • Mag Lite – Distress signal, warn oncoming traffic of your presence at night, work light for vehicle repair, self defense.
  • Tire Repair Kit
  • Valve stem tool and spare valve stem cores
  • Roll of black tape – Multiple Use, vehicle electrical system repair, improvising.
  • Roll of duct tape – Multiple Use, temporarily stopping leaky hoses, improvising.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Sun tan lotion – For long walks in sunny or desert environments, fire starter.
  • Insect repellent
  • Ice Scraper – Snow removal, improvised digging device, self defense.
  • 2 Gallon Gas Can – With Gas.
  • One gallon premixed water and antifreeze (Note: Don’t ever use anything that has contained antifreeze as a drinking water container.  Also don’t attempt to drink any fluid that contains antifreeze, even if its been boiled.  Antifreeze is poisonous.)
  • Entrenching tool (E-Tool) – Not seen in this picture, because I think it was left in a prairie dog field on my last trip to West Nebraska.
  • Tool Kit – Includes: Basic Socket which has Phillips and straight, metric and standard 3/8 sockets and wrenches, ¼  inch multi-bit driver, variety of ¼ bits, hex wrenches, needle nose pliers, adjustable wrench, spark plug sockets, wire cutters, 3/8 drive flex universal adapter, 6 inch extension, 3 inch extension and 3/8 ratchet.  Also added is a small hack saw, 2 pair of vise grip locking pliers, standard and metric deep well sockets, a leather man, a bigger adjustable wrench, a roll of electric wire, a roll of utility wire, a standard pair of pliers, a 2 pound hammer, another ratchet and a bag to carry it all.

Also not pictured here, that should be added for older vehicles is a few quarts of oil, and transmission fluid, an extra serpentine or V-belt(s) for your specific vehicle and any unique tools that are required to change it.  During fall and winter an extra sleeping bag or wool blanket would also be prudent.  If you drive a newer vehicle (within ten years old or so) that is well maintained, the likely hood of needing the spare oil and belts or hoses is pretty low as long as you keep up on your vehicle’s preventative maintenance.

 

GET HOME BAG

I also recommend keeping a Get Home Bag (GHB) in your vehicle in case it breaks down beyond repair, gets stuck in a ditch or for whatever reason you just have to leave the vehicle and go on foot. 

This bag is smaller and lighter than a full 72 hour bag (BOB). I guess it’s more like a 24 hour bag.

 Its purpose is to contain just the items that may be needed to get home on foot, even if it’s a long hike.  Again in no particular order, here is a list of what I recommend for a Get Home Bag.

  • Small backpack
  • Emergency credit card – With at least a $3000.00 credit limit.
  • Prepaid calling card – With 60 minutes or so of time on it.
  • $100 cash – Pay for a ride, buy spare parts or food, water, etc.
  • Bright colored poncho – shelter from rain, signaling.
  • Old broke in tennis shoes – Better for long walks than dress shoes, boots, or high heels.
  • Thick wool socks – Change of socks so feet stay dry and avoid blisters.
  • Umbrella
  • 4 Bottles of Water
  • Emergency Water Filter Straw – Can be used with empty water bottles to re-stock on fresh water for the long walk.
  • 4 granola bars
  • Collapsible baton – Self Defense (Note: Check your local laws to ensure these are legal for carry).
  • Small handgun and ammo and holster (Note: Ensure you carry in accordance with local & state laws, be licensed if required.)
  • Combat field bandage – Medical, Fire Starter.
  • Triangle bandage / kravat – Multi use, medical, water filter (not purifier), dust filter for face, etc.
  • Toilet paper
  • Candle – Fire starter, Signal, Night travel (cut the bottom off of a water bottle and stick the candle through it to shield from the wind).
  • 6ft x 8 ft Tarp – Shelter, ground tarp for working on vehicle.
  • Cigarette Lighter
  • Magnesium Fire Starter / Fire Steel
  • Pitch Wood Club – Fire starter, Self Defense
  • Compass / Signal Mirror – Navigation, directional day time signaling (A couple flashes in a drivers eyes will get their attention – just don’t hold it on them as it could cause an accident).
  • Led flashlight – For night time travel and vehicle repair.
  • Emergency road flare – Emergency distress signal, fire starter.
  • Folding saw – Collecting fuel for an overnight fire if needed, removing debris from a road, etc.
  • Fixed blade knife – Multi use.
  • Handheld CB – Signaling and Communication
  • Handheld FRS / GMRS Radios – Signaling and Communication
  • Notepad and pens/pencil – Leaving directions, destination and contact information.
  • Road map – Finding ways around obstacles or detours.
  • Handheld GPS – Waypoints to home and friends houses or rally points preloaded.
  • Shemagh – Head cover, scarf, dust filter, water filter, Wet down put on neck to avoid overheating, etc.
  • White  cotton towel – Waving it at passing cars is an emergency distress signal, to clean up with after repairing vehicle
  • Wool stocking cap
  • 6 hand/foot warmers
  • Gloves

All of the gear fits nicely in a small backpack and it all weighs only about 22 lbs. But once you put on the tennis shoes, socks and drink the water, the weight drops a few pounds.  A little heavier than most will be used to carrying on long walks, but it isn’t over whelming and will give you plenty of resources to deal with a wide variety of situations.

While all of the items have multiple uses, the cash, prepaid calling card and emergency credit card are in all likelihood the most useful in most real world emergencies.  If you had a long walk the extra socks and tennis shoes would also come in very handy, especially if you have to wear nice dress clothes to work.  High heels or dress shoes aren’t fun on long walks. Well, I’m not personally aware of the comfort level of high heels, but my wife tells me they aren’t great…

So it may seem like a lot of gear all in all.  But when you start exploiting all of the hiding places in vehicles you would be surprised what you can hide away for safe keeping until it’s needed. Here are a few pics of what it looks like in the truck.

As you can see it all tucks away quite nicely and the only thing that is taking up any floor space or foot room is the GHB.

For my own vehicle a few additional items I would like to have, but haven’t purchased yet are a portable battery booster/jump starter and a high lift jack. I also plan to add two 4 foot 2x10s with 1/4 “ grooves cut across them every couple of inches and painted with traction paint on  both sides.  Boards fashioned in that manner will go a long way in vehicle extraction and negotiating rough or rocky terrain.  

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What items that aren’t listed do you carry in your vehicle that could be useful in getting you back home?

This is a guest post by JJ Johnson (JJSERE1). JJ is a former USAF Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Instructor and currently runs his own survival blog which can be seen here: http://www.realitysurvival.com.  He also has a YouTube Channel with several survival/self-reliance related videos which can be found here: http://www.YouTube.Com/user/RealitySurvival

Comments

  1. Uriel says:

    When you say “Small handgun” what kind of gun, and specially, caliber, are you talking about?

    • JJ johnson says:

      I carry a Springfield XD-9 Subcompact 9mm.

    • Dave says:

      My personal opinion is that the .22 is the best of all worlds for a survival weapon. Accurate, recoilless, easily carry a hundred rounds, won’t destroy game, and a soft report. My protection carry pistol is a Kimber .45, and my BOB weapon is a Ruger MK III hunter with 150 rounds.
      This is not the bag I keep in my vehicles, but one that stays at the ready. My standard prep bag has no firearm, as I am always personally armed.

  2. The US Air Force issues 38 snub nose revolvers as a survival weapon. They have also issued 45 revolvers and autos, but those are kind of big. A 38 would be all you would need for protection against everything but large game, like boar and bears.

  3. Also, with the weapons inside your vehicle, make sure you don’t drive with them into any school zones. There are a few ways that scenario might not turn out well.

  4. Jaime Franciso says:

    I would suggest a can of pepper spray. Once again, check your local laws! You suggest 4 granola bars, but many of them contain less then 200 calories. For a situation where you are under stress and may need to walk many miles you need calories. There are bars that are easily found that will provide up to 500 calories. I suggest you have at least 2,500 – 3,000 calories available.

  5. 3 Thoughts:
    Keeping your vehicle properly maintained goes a long way. A vehicle breakdown can turn an urgent situation into a catastrophe! Correct seasonal tires (rain, steel stud snow, etc) w/ proper inflation, coolant system, oil changes, horn!, even wiper spray can help eliminate complications in an emergency. If you’ve got room, a full sized spare! and check it’s pressure! I usually rotate my full sized spare with the other 4 (so I buy 5 tires every time, and they last longer). Then it won’t get dry rot either, as it’s always the same condition as your other 4.

    Kinda of obvious, but tailor your gear for your environment (Phoenix=a few cases of drinking water, Buffalo NY=snow chains, Pac NW=waterproofing), In cold areas, A big chunky candle inside a coffee can, or one of those 200+ hour scented candles can take the bite off the chill if you get run off the road in a blizzard, or are forced to spend the night in your ‘vic for any reason. It will help melt snow to drink, and revitalize cold digits for dexterity. Also, you won’t have to cycle your engine, which in a snowstorm can back into your vehicle and cause carbon monoxide death.

    I guess it depends on what you are getting ready for, but I have always planned that folding currency will be better as fire tinder than legal tender. HA!
    Things that hold value will be important. Don’t hack your wedding ring or emergency band radio when you need to fill your gas tank. Carry around something guaranteed by the US Mint: silver bullion pieces, or even some pre-1964 US coinage (dollars, halves, quarters, dimes were all 90% silver, and that is pretty common knowledge). I’m pretty sure that everyone knows what silver is, and will always accept it as currency or barter. Gold comes in very large denominations ($1600/ounce), so i feel silver is best ($30/ounce) for getting emergency fuel, food, ammo, or whatever!

    PS: If planning for signaling, try a VS17 Panel Marker. weighs almost nothing, comes in a bag which can be reused for various things, built in tie down spots, and very inexpensive. Better than taking off your shirt to use as a signal flag. But i guess you covered it with the poncho.

  6. thanks you for sharing.

  7. Great list and tips for use.

  8. Andrew RunningWolf says:

    you will find that out in rural or wilderness areas, if you cant get 911 link on your cell, try 112.it picks up better at times for emergency.

  9. Jason Neal says:

    One curiosity, what is a "Extra 550" all I get is a RC plane engine starter in a google search.

  10. Justin Russell says:

    Jason it is 550 paracord.

    • Jason Neal says:

      ok so should state Extra 550 paracord then, and I carry that on my person all the time, it's my wallet chain and a bracelet, I also have a AR with a sling made with it.

    • Justin Russell says:

      Thats awesome! I just can not afford that stuff right now because times are really hard for me right now but I am getting there though i have alot of other stuff though lol.

  11. valerie thompson says:

    YOU ARE ONE SMART PERSON, THE KID I WANT TO HAVE ON MY SIDE IN AN EMERGENCY, OR TO SIMPLY LEARN SMART WAYS FROM, TYVM FOR THIS INSIGHTFUL SMART ARTICLE, IT WILL DEFINATLY SAVE SOME LIVES IF PEOPLE LISTEN LIKE I DO .

  12. Steven D says:

    Great list. I’d add a package of dental floss.

  13. Scott Geer says:

    Couple things that are illegal in my state, Texas, to have in your possession that are on your list, but otherwise a nice list.

  14. GREAT list! Thank you!

  15. GREAT list! Thank you!

  16. Brent says:

    What would be the best brand of entrenching tool to buy? Considering quality and price.

  17. Scott Geer says:

    The wooden baton is questionable but I know you can't possess an expandable baton. You can own one as a "collector" and keep it in your home, but it's treated as a club/impact weapon and is illegal to possess in public.

  18. Rick Hostetler says:

    That really depends on where you live. They're perfectly legal where I live (Idaho).

  19. Hannah Szuch says:

    A rule with my family is that wherever you go on a trip, always take a plastic baggie with clean, dry sock and underwear. You can re-wear dirty or soaking wet clothes, but it’s hard to be comfortable in dirty or wet underwear or socks.